This psychological thriller has received very mediocre reviews, but I couldn’t resist the opportunity to watch Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman together again (they were great in last year’s The Railway Man), so I took a chance on this small British film.
Before I Go To Sleep starts well, developing just the right kind of grey-toned atmosphere (which focuses on the isolation of the two protagonists and their house) while immediately introducing the voice of the mysterious doctor who is supposedly trying to help Christine.
Christine (Kidman) wakes up every morning without any memory of the last twenty years of her life, an amnesia phenomenon that was caused by a traumatic event which happened a number of years before the start of the film. Every morning she needs to be told, first by her husband, Ben (Firth), and then by her doctor (played well by Mark Strong), whom she has become. Unknown to Ben, the doctor has encouraged Christine to use a camera (which she hides in a drawer) to leave messages for herself. Gradually she realizes that there are a few too many things Ben has been hiding about her past, while Ben begins to suspect Christine is not staying home as much as he would like.
It’s an interesting premise, full of potential (especially with these actors), but writer/director Rowan Joffe isn’t quite up to the task. Before I Go To Sleep soon devolves into a standard thriller with an unsatisfying ending and just a few too many plot holes. And while the performances of Firth and Kidman are more than acceptable, the actors are capable of better. Still, it was a fun bit of distraction that I will award ***. My mug is up, but don’t expect anything very exciting inside.